NAPTOSA recently welcomed the joint decision taken by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Unions on 10 September 2015 to postpone the 2015 ANA to 2016. The decision was taken following lengthy deliberations between the DBE and unions and it was agreed that a remodelling of the ANA by a joint task team that will comprise of union principals and senior DBE officials will take place before the end of the year.
It was thus with shock and disappointment that NAPTOSA learnt of the announcement by the Minister to proceed with the writing of the ANAs from 1 to 4 December 2015. This announcement was made by the Minister at a media briefing in Pretoria on Friday, 18 September 2015, following the Committee of Education Ministers’ (CEM) meeting. No consultation had taken place prior to the latest announcement. This comes on the eve of a high level meeting between the Ministry, Senior DBE officials and union principals, scheduled for Sunday, 20 September 2015. The Minister is reneging on an agreement reached with the DBE which is disconcerting and not considered to be in the spirit of cooperation.
NAPTOSA is not supportive of the ANAs being written on the said dates in December 2015 for a number of reasons, including:
- The task team has been given three months to remodel the National Assessments. It would mean that the task team’s efforts will have no bearing on the tests to be written in December.
- Schools have announced exam timetables which may not align with ANA test dates.
- The workload on teachers will be unreasonable as they have to mark school exams and complete the end of year administration involved in issuing reports on 9 December 2015.
- It is likely that several Grade nine English and Mathematics teachers will be away from school marking National Senior Certificate examinations during that time.
- The results are not likely to be valid if learners, especially Grade three learners, are exhausted from writing school exams and participation in other year-end activities.
- The ANAs which were due to be written in September 2015 have been compromised. There is anecdotal evidence of some schools that had not heard of the postponement and consequently opened the boxes of tests.
The NAPTOSA leadership will be interacting with the Ministry and DBE on this latest development on Sunday, 20 September 2015. This will be followed by a joint media briefing by unions on Monday, 21 September 2015 where the unions’ position will be presented.